What’s SUP?

Paddleboarding emerges the latest lockdown craze. Rosie Green is on board.

I started off lockdown full of isolation motivation. Big into self improvement and embracing the challenge. Along with plans to create Sissinghurst from my gone-to-seed garden and finally sorting out my cooking utensils drawer, I was determined to emerge fitter. A glowing vision of health.
I ordered a five day juice cleanse from Plenish (there’s still some unidentifiable green sludge knocking around in the fridge). I made a commitment to run every day. I discovered Yoga with Adriene online and did multiple downward dogs on my daughter’s sheepskin run whilst trying to ignore the ground-in raisins. I did barre workouts holding onto a chair in the back garden, much to the amusement of the builders next door, who shouted, er, encouragement. I corralled the kids into Joe Wicks workouts and realised after five minutes they’d all slunk off and I was the only doing the sodding Pikachu jumps. (The builder’s had some observations about these too).
Ten weeks later and the enthusiasm has waned somewhat.
Okay waned totally.
Partly because it feels like I’m never going to go out out and therefore there will be nobody to appreciate the abs IRL and partly because, well my knees are creaking louder than a Love Islander’s bed springs.
Suddenly it just all feels a bit much.
So what to do?
Paddle boarding.
Okay I know it seems a bit LA. More Instagram photo op than actual sporting activity.
And your thoughts might instinctively skip to Orlando Bloom, papped naked on his board, accompanied a rather impressive todger and Katy Perry.
But here’s the thing – it’s actually easy, accessible and … enjoyable.
And lots of people have sussed this out which is probably why sales are reported to be fifteen times higher than usual.
I am a paddle board convert
In our slice of Oxfordshire paddle boarding is a big thing. Instead of going to the pub for a drink, my mates and I now go for a paddle down the river Thames.
The obstacles to enjoying it are minimal.
You don’t need to pay gym fees, or book a slot or wait for the wind or to have lessons (although it might help…)

Go with friends and there is a lot of time for chat, limited distractions and zero opportunity for competitiveness.

You just need to find one in stock and hand over the cash. Or find a friend to borrow one from.
Then all that’s required is a stretch of water and the ability to swim should you fall in.
Paddleboarding seems to fit in with the new calmer, more reflective mood triggered by our enforced slowdown.
After ten weeks everyone is feeling bit mentally fragile. In need of a boost.
And the peace of the water and the lush greenery of the river banks delivers just that.
And because only the very confident would take their phone on board, it’s a break from the What’s App and the Zoom calls.
Go with friends and there is a lot of time for chat, limited distractions and zero opportunity for competitiveness.
And you are perfectly socially distanced.
(N.B If you are a bit shite like me you are generally lagging at the back and at least 4m away).
It’s inclusive too.
You can put members of your own household on your own board (think kids and dogs).
Even though it doesn’t feel like exercising, you are working your core.
And though you may not be burning many calories, my reasoning is that it’s hard to consume kettle chips and rosé whilst you are paddling so there’s a saving there.
I say if you can find one, It’s definitely worth investing in.

Disclaimer: naked Bloom not included.

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